Once total strangers, these guys now feel more like brothers — and it's all because of a shirt.
Robert Leibowitz had been suffering from chronic kidney failure, and the father of five feared he might not survive waiting for a kidney donor.
Last year, the ad man came up with a desperate idea: He made up a shirt that read, "In Need of a Kidney. O Positive."
He then wore it on a family vacation to Disney World.
“I’m going to be in Disney, my favorite place on the planet," he told Inside Edition. "Maybe there will be a little pixie dust. Never in a million years did i think this shirt would save my life."
It was there that a couple saw Leibowitz's shirt, snapped a photo and posted it on social media. It went viral, eventually making its way to Richie Sully of Fort Wayne, Ind.
“My first thought was, ‘How desperate is this guy? He's on vacation advertising with a shirt saying basically, 'Help save my life,'" Sully said.
Without having any idea whether they would be a match, Sully boarded a bus from Indiana to New York to take the chance. They wound up being compatible.
The duo was surrounded by family at New York-Presbyterian Hospital recently for the transplant.
Sully was taken into the operating room first, and surgeons delicately harvested his kidney. It was then packed in a container and brought to surgeons to be transplanted into Leibowitz’s body.
Incredibly, all thanks to a shirt and little Disney magic, they are forever bonded by the gift of life.
“I can't put into words how to thank him, but I’ll try for the rest of my life,” Leibowitz said.
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